What do comms pros think of Google+?

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What do comms pros think of Google+?

Last week Communicate Magazine hosted the last in its series of Google+ morning conferences. These took place from 5 – 14 March in Bristol, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester, with the final event, Google+ for Brands and Businesses in London on Wednesday 14 March. It focused on what could make Google+ stand out from the crowd: its brand pages. You can read the Storify report from the conference online.

I wrote about Google+ back in August and you can access my profile via the screengrab. I was unable to go to the seminar and spotted via the hashtag on Twitter #GPlusbrands that Chloe Watson, a  Communications Manager at Channel 3 Consulting, a healthcare consultancy working exclusively with the NHS, was attending. You can follow her on Twitter @chloecwatson

I sent her a note and asked if she would write for Diary of an internal communicator to let us know what was discussed and her impressions, which she kindly agreed to do. Thank you Chloe, over to you…

When Google launched its latest social media venture, Google +, last June it was met with a mixed reaction. In an already crowded social media market it was difficult to see Google+ would sit and why people would choose to use it alongside or instead of far more established platforms.

For a brand Google+ does offer some unique features such as Circles, which allow brands to fully manage and group their followers.

What really matters?
Adam Vincenzini of Paratus Communications stressed that what really matters when it comes to online engagement, was putting the right content in front of the right people at the right time – if you do this you will “create and maintain relationships with the people who matter” – Circles allow you to do this.

Another feature, Hangouts, allows brands to host video chats. Although limited to ten participants, this offers a fantastic opportunity for large corporations to show a human front and engage with their customers directly.

It wasn’t however until Lee Smallwood of Digicoms took to the floor that the audience’s ambivalence was noticeably challenged.

Lee explained how Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) social search is taking over from traditional SEO. Essentially, Facebook and Twitter can be used to drive traffic but they cannot, as Google+ does, influence search engine results. When Google searches it can only crawl the content it can see, it that respect Facebook and Twitter are closed clubs. If you are interested in updating your website to take advantage of these features, have a look at Lee’s presentation.

What’s Google’s view?
And with that at the forefront of most peoples’ minds it was left to Google’s Paul Coffey to put us all right when it came to finding Google+’s place in the social media landscape: “Googe+ is a project, not a platform”.

He described it as Google’s first step in their mission to socialise all of Google, allowing users to share documents from their Google Docs account, post news stories from Google Reader and comment on videos they watch on YouTube on one central platform.

For most, myself included, the jury is still out on Google+ and its value for businesses. It certainly will take time to build up anything near the engagement levels experienced on other social platforms and the real question is whether it is worth investing now to reap the rewards later or whether, like other Google social ventures, it will be shut down before it even gets the chance.

All of the slides from the event are available here.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts Chloe. What do you think of what she’s written? Do you use Google+? Feel free to comment below or send me a message: rach@rachmiller.com. Are you planning to attend an event that you think other Comms pros would be interested in reading about? If so, and you think it would be useful to share the info with others, do get in touch with me and you could see your article on my blog. Thank as ever for stopping by, Rachel.

Post author: Chloe Watson

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